A limited range of redox-active, rotaxane-based, molecular switches exist, despite numerous potential applications for them as components of nanoscale devices. We have designed and synthesised a neutral, redox-active rotaxane, which incorporates an electron-deficient pyromellitic diimide (PmI)-containing ring encircling two electron-rich recognition sites in the form of dioxynaphthalene (DNP) and tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) units positioned along the rod section of its dumbbell component. Molecular modeling using MacroModel guided the design of the mechanically interlocked molecular switch. The binding affinities in CH 2Cl 2 at 298 K between the free ring and two electron-rich guests - one (K a = 5.8 × 10 2 M -1) containing a DNP unit and the other (K a = 6.3 × 10 3 M -1) containing a TTF unit - are strong: the one order of magnitude difference in their affinities favouring the TTF unit suggested to us the feasibility of integrating these three building blocks into a bistable rotaxane switch. The rotaxane was obtained in 34% yield by relying on neutral donor-acceptor templation and a double copper-catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC). Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and spectroelectrochemistry (SEC) were employed to stimulate and observe switching by this neutral bistable rotaxane in solution at 298 K, while 1H NMR spectroscopy was enlisted to investigate switching upon chemical oxidation. The neutral rotaxane is a chemically robust and functional switch with potential for applications in device settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry